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Lake Erie & Western New York Fishing Hotline

April 30 to May 7, 2021

Attention Anglers: The DEC Ohio Street fishing access site and hand launch on the Buffalo River is closed starting March 15th until further notice. The site is undergoing a boat launch and fishing pier enhancement project.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we ask that you please act safely when fishing. Do not crowd access sites. If you arrive at an angler access area that is congested, consider finding another area that is less crowded or consider fishing another day. When you're on the water, please make sure there is ample room between you and your fellow anglers. Don't share a boat unless it is large enough so that all persons aboard can always remain at a minimum distance of six feet apart. Providing ample distance helps to reduce the spread of colds, flu and COVID-19 and also contributes to an overall better angling experience. When boating and fishing, DEC and State Parks recommend New Yorkers to #RecreateLocal, avoid busy waters and follow the guidelines for Recreating Safely and Responsibly in New York State.

Lake Erie, Harbors and Tributaries

Yellow perch fishing has slowed as perch are now post-spawn and scattered. Searching is now required to find smaller schools in 55-60 feet of water between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point. Walleye season kicks off on Saturday, May 1st. The nearshore shoals/shallows are typically productive when the season opens, with better action at night. Shorehaven Reef, Bournes Beach, Green Hills, Van Buren Bay, Evans Bar, off Hamburg and near the mouth of Smokes Creek are good spots to try. Trolling minnow-type stickbaits at around 1.5 mph over rocky areas in 6-15 feet of water is a typical program. During the day, walleye are often found off the traditional nighttime spots in 20-30 feet of water. Sturgeon Point boat launch remains closed. See the Walleye Fishing on Lake Erie webpage for more information.

All Lake Erie tributaries are running high and stained today. The smallest tributaries may be an option by Saturday. Eighteenmile Creek and the lower section of Cattaraugus Creek have been fishing well for smallmouth bass. Look for bass fishing to improve on all streams as more fish push up on this high-water event. There are also modest numbers of steelhead still hanging around the Catt. With cool water temperatures, catfish fishing has been slow.

Niagara River

In the upper river, walleye typically show along Unity Island in spring, making it a good shore site to try when the season opens. Smallmouth bass fishing has been good throughout the upper river on a variety of artificial baits.

In the lower river, steelhead are still biting well in the upper drifts and a load of lake trout have showed up, especially along Artpark. Smallmouth bass numbers are solid and growing from Lewiston to the Niagara Bar. White bass and walleye are other possible catches. The smelt run appears to be done. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Lake Ontario & Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Variable winds slowed fishing action at mid-week. Previously, trollers reported excellent trout and salmon catches from the Niagara Bar to Olcott. Trolling along the Niagara Bar "ledge" has produced a mix of lake trout, king salmon and brown trout. Off Wilson and Olcott, depths of 60-120 feet have produced a mix of lake trout and king salmon with the occasional coho salmon. Large spoons and flasher-fly combos have worked well.

Harbors are good spots to target a variety of warmwater species. In Olcott, harbor you never know what you will catch next. Smallmouth bass, northern pike, bowfin, yellow perch, rock bass and more are available in the harbor, from the piers and up at Fisherman's Park. The occasional trout or coho salmon are also caught from the piers.

Chautauqua Lake

When walleye season opens, the nearshore shallows are a good bet at night. Boaters typically do well by trolling or casting stickbaits and shore anglers connect by casting stickbaits. Open lake crappie fishing in 4-8 feet of water around emerging weeds and structure has not taken off yet, but yellow perch have been readily caught in those areas. Look for bullhead in the canals, lower sections of tributaries and along the open lake shoreline after dark. Visit the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.

Inland Trout Streams

New trout regulations are in effect April 1st on most inland trout streams. For information, review the Trout Stream Regulation Press Release, which includes links to the Trout Stream Management Plan, the new Trout Stream Fishing Map and the new Regulation Guide.

Most inland trout streams are running high at report time due to recent rains. Smaller streams, spring-fed streams and upper reaches are best bets for fishable water this weekend. Sub-surface nymphs and buggers have been good offerings in cooler waters. Look for dry fly action in the afternoon of warmer days. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small in-line spinners. Check out the Fishing for Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, equipment and techniques.

Spring Trout Stocking

All of western New York's trout stocking waters have been stocked with at least one stocking increment. For County lists of stocked waters and anticipated number of trout to be stocked, see the Spring Trout Stocking 2021 page. Call the Randolph Stocking Hotline at 716-358-2050 for stocking updates. Note: As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, DEC will not allow volunteers to assist with this year's spring stockings. Hatchery and Regional Fisheries personnel will be making every effort to get all our local streams stocked in a timely manner and make every effort to distribute fish along stocked stream sections as best we can within the limits of our capacity. Hatchery staff are now delivering additional stocking increments for the larger and more popular streams. The following waters are scheduled for an additional stocking the week of May 3rd.

Allegany County: Genesee River (Wellsville, Amity).

Chautauqua County: Goose Creek (N. Harmony, Harmony).

Wyoming County: Cattaraugus Creek (Arcade), East Koy Creek (Gainesville).

Steuben County: Cohocton River (Cohocton, Avoca).

If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; Good Luck Fishing!